Super Rugby Pacific: Revamped Reds to face Fijian Drua

Wallabies halfback Tate McDermott has been recalled to Queensland’s starting team for Saturday’s Super Rugby Pacific clash with Fijian Drua in Suva.

McDermott returned via in the bench last Friday in the Reds’ 26-22 win over the Melbourne Rebels after serving a three-game suspension for a swinging arm offence.

He showed enough as a second-half replacement against the Rebels to reclaim the No.9 jersey and relegate Kalani Thomas to the bench.

McDermott’s inclusion is one of nine changes to Queensland’s run-on 15, with Reds coach Les Kiss opting to “refresh” some players.

There are five alterations to the starting pack, three in front-row where props Peni Ravai and Zane Nonggor, and hooker Josh Nasser replace Sef Fa’agase, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Matt Faessler respectively.

Lock Cormac Daly is recalled at the expense of Angus Blyth, while No.8 John Bryant replaces the injured Harry Wilson (broken arm).

There are also changes on both wings, with Mac Grealy and the in-form Tim Ryan left out and replaced by Floyd Aubrey and Suliasi Vunivalu.

The other selection move comes in the centres, where Taj Annan takes the place of Josh Flook, whose is being “managed” due to a shoulder issue.

“One of the key things I wanted to do was build depth in the squad,” Kiss said.
“With the coaching team I have, they have done a fantastic job of skilling up the boys and getting them across all the detail this season.

“Overall, I feel everyone is raising their game.”

Kiss said wing sensation Ryan, who has scored six tries in three matches for Queensland, would have the “chance to attack this game from the bench”,

“I’m a big believer in giving young players a go when they are good … but it’s also about managing their exposure the right way at this level,” Kiss said.

Queensland’s replacements will also include versatile forward Seru Uru, who returns from a broken thumb.

Flyhalf Tom Lynagh will be given another week to fully recover from a hamstring injury.

Reds: Peni Ravai, Josh Nasser, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Cormac Daly, Liam Wright, Fraser McReight, John Bryant, Tate McDermott, Lawson Creighton, Floyd Aubrey, Hunter Paisami, Taj Annan, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell. Bench: George Blake, Sef Fa’agase, Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, Seru Uru, Joe Brial, Kalani Thomas, James O’Connor, Tim Ryan.

Drua: Jone Koroiduadua, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Mesake Vocevoce, Isoa Nasilasila, Etonia Waqa, Kitione Salawa, Elia Canakaivata, Simione Kuruvoli, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Epeli Momo, Waqa Nalaga, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese. Bench: Mesulame Dolokoto, Emosi Tuqiri, Samu Tawake, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Vilive Miramira, Peni Matawalu, Kemu Valetini, Taniela Rakuro.

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